I first “met” my new Carina editor, Jessica Schulte, in February when she emailed to request some revisions to my book Fatal Affair. Since the book was acquired later in February, we’ve worked together on revisions and line edits and had a good time getting to know each other. She is a treat to work with and has a great sense of humor. Well, after you read our interview, you won’t need me to tell you that!
Marie: Tell me about your career in publishing and how you came to be involved with Carina Press.
Jessica: I came to publishing after getting my master’s degree in dramatic criticism from Columbia University. I love how theatre tells stories so directly–it’s a connection, I think to oral story telling. It just resonates on a very primal level. What I loved about studying dramatic literature and writing about productions, was that it allowed me to really investigate the craft and understand why and how plays worked (or didn’t!) LOL! Of course, with plays there are other elements that affect the overall outcome and effect, i.e. lighting, sets, costumes, direction and acting. There are so many variables in theatre; it’s very exciting and it’s why one production is never like another.
But with books it’s just the author and the reader. It’s very intimate and immediate storytelling, a partnership almost. And the
Marie: I know you’re somewhat new to the romance genre, so what is the most interesting thing you’ve learned about romance since joining Carina?
Jessica: Oh, boy. I think a good editor, (and a good writer) is always learning—but I just love the story telling in romance novels. I love the twists and turns, and uh, well, the romance. I’m also thrilled by how eagerly romance readers have adopted the digital medium. I am really enjoying exploring websites and forums where readers and writers passionately hold forth. I adore smartbitches.com (and their book, Beyond Heaving Bosoms), as someone new to the genre they let me know that a wicked sense of humor was a good thing to bring to the genre.
Marie: We’ve had some fun while editing my book, Fatal Affair. You confessed to me that you might be slightly (okay totally, but this is a family show) in love with my hero Nick… What do you love about Nick and what makes you fall in love with a hero?
Jessica: Ohhhh! I really do love Nick.He has real heart.He’s devastated by what’s happened but he’s still so open to the possibilities around him. And he’s not afraid to make a fool of himself or to apologize. And he’s a terrific lover. He’s so much like my husband, that I just can’t resist him. (Hi, honey!!)
I think I fall in love a little bit with all the characters in books that I edit. Even the bad guys. When a book works you just fall in to that world and you love being there with everyone.
Marie: I’m SO glad you love Nick, and I adore your reasons! Hopefully, readers will fall in love with him, too! Next questions: What’s your favorite book? Movie? TV show? And, since you live in New York City, Broadway show?
Jessica: This is one of my worst subjects. Ever. I I can’t pick a favorite color, either. Oh, sheesh. I just can’t pick. I can’t. Please don’t make me. I have a special place for YA and middle grade novels and am loving Rhonda Stapleton’s Stupid Cupid right now. It’s so fun!! But I also love Kathi Appelt’s The Underneath, and Suzanne Collins The Hunger Games series. They are fun, too, but in a completely different way. I have a real weakness for Rogers and Hammerstein, Rodgers and Hart, Lerner and Lowe, and Sondheim musicals. It is a great sorrow to me that I can’t sing. And since I worked on The Secret Garden, that show has a very special place in my heart.
As for TV, full disclosure: I still miss The Gilmore Girls and am THRILLED that Lauren Graham is back on weekly TV. There, I’ve said it.
Marie: I’ve discovered there’s a 14-year-old girl lurking inside you! How do you like to spend your free time?
Jessica: Oh, there’s definitely a 14-year old girl lurking not that secretly inside me. When I was a kid, I really wanted to be Dr. Dolittle, and so I spent my time surrounded by as many animals as my parents would allow. And now that I’m supposed to be a grown up and live in an apartment, I can’t have as many animals as I wish, but I am also a dog trainer so I get to work with dogs and their people and compete with my dog in agility, competition obedience, and Rally-O. We’re also learning Freestyle. If you’re interested in what that is, check out http://tinyurl.com/3danad I promise, you won’t be sorry.
And yes, musical theatre alert!I also knit and make jewelry when I am just hanging out watching TV.
Marie: What makes a submission stand out to you?
Jessica: I am looking for stories that suck me in and don’t let me go. I love when the heroine is struggling with issues and the answers come after some real deep soul-searching. And I love to laugh. So if those things are combined I am in heaven. I love historical romances when I am taken to new worlds (even if it’s a familiar period) and learn new things. And I love stories where characters have a bond with pets, especially dogs.
Thanks to Jessica for answering my questions! It was fun to get to know her better!
You can follow Jessica on Twitter
Angela’s note: Feel free to ask Jessica questions in the comments and we’ll get her to come by and answer them!